“It helps you save a considerable amount space, then it is a dinning table and a tea table in one. With a single hand movement you can set its height as you choose; and that without needing to first clear the table”
So introduced Swiss furniture manufacturer Horgenglarus the so called Bally-Verstelltisch, or S.T. Tisch, on its launch in 1954.
Designed by the Swiss architect Jürg Bally the S.T. Tisch is one of those products that without question would have found its way into our Lost Furniture Design Classic section had Horgenglarus not decided to rescue it from its obscurity and re-release it in 2014.
Or better put, had Horgenglarus not thankfully decided to rescue it from its obscurity and re-release it in 2014.
Searching for alternatives to the standard furniture of the day and wanting to create objects that responded to the real living conditions in 1950s Switzerland, Jürg Bally developed a table that is as ingenious as it is aesthetically pleasing, and that beautifully fits the Gute Form principle of being an object which “in its form represents its purpose and is at the same time attractive”
Indeed so well does it fit the principles of Gute Form, it was awarded a Gute Form Award by the Swiss Werkbund in 1955.
Little more than a round table top and three crossed legs the genius with the S.T. Tisch is and was a raising and lowering mechanism inspired by the simplicity of the Swiss horologists craft.
Despite the 1954 claims you cannot set the table to any given height, but to one of ten heights between 42 cms and 74 cms: a range that, admittedly, to all intents and purposes, is any height. But the system can be operated with one hand, that much is true. And does produce a very gentle, smooth movement.
The newly re-released S.T. Tisch is not an exact replica of Jürg Bally’s design but is an updated version developed by Zurich based designer and engineer Daniel Hunziker; an updated version that solves some of the problems with Bally’s design. For genial as Bally’s design is, the design and the mechanism did push 1950s technology to its limits. Modern technology, and for all modern materials, provide new solutions and Horgenglarus and Daniel Hunziker have utilised these to excellent effect to create a product that is every bit as beguiling as the original, yet more durable and reliable.
And yes, we’ve seen both the original and the updated version. Next to each other. And have tested both.
Reflecting the adaptations the S.T. Tisch has been given a new name: ess.tee.tisch t-6500
Viewing the ess.tee.tisch t-6500 won’t be the easiest of tasks as Horgenglarus don’t have the widest of distributor networks, at least not outwith Switzerland. And while a trip to the company’s Alpine base in Glarus is always, but always, to be recommended; should you be in or near Berlin in the coming weeks you can view the ess.tee.tisch t-6500 in a special exhibition at the Werkbund Berlin Galerie, Goethestraße 13, 10623, Berlin from Friday May 9th until Tuesday June 3rd.
Which of course means during the forthcoming DMY Berlin Design Festival.
If you get the chance, do take it.